My friend, Rachel Klein, died. I have a few things to say in her memory.

I met Rachel late in 2011. We belonged to the same local community organization. I met her dog, Zoe, too. I told myself I’d seen her someplace before, but I could never pinpoint where in my many travels I’d run across her. Didn’t she look familiar? I never figured that one out. Whatever places we’d seen each other before were only a blur. If I had known her, perhaps it was in passing, and most likely we hadn’t spoken or known each other’s names. Rachel was about ten years younger than me.

I made it known within the community organization to which we both belonged that I had a mental history. Of course, this was a mistake on my part. I should have kept it hidden. I was naïve as to think this organization was a little different and wouldn’t discriminate, but I was wrong. They’re all the same.

Organizations are mostly run in Hellenistic fashion. There is the top powerful leadership, the “in crowd,” that is, the elite, and then there are the rest of us, the peons. The elite are advisors, trusted pals of the leader. They get special privileges. The peons get minimal, token recognition and don’t have a voice.

You guessed it. Those who were stuck with mental illness diagnosis got routinely shoved aside. They’d make it look like this wasn’t the reality, but it was. All along, I truly believed that this organization was the big exception. However, one day, I woke up to what was really going on.

I decided around the beginning of 2014 that this was rather serious. I decided to do something about the discrimination. I wrote to a higher-up in Boston about the discrimination in a private e-mail. My guess is that my e-mail actually did something, that there was a bit of a shakeup. Word got to the leadership and the elite. Next thing you knew, they retaliated. They came barging into my building and threatened me, telling me I was excluded from the organization unless I agreed to never write such an e-mail again. They even used police force to scare me. They accused me of having weapons and plotting murder. I was shocked and felt that what they did was a hate crime.

I was scared that someone would die as a result of the discrimination. That’s why I wrote the e-mail.

It broke my heart whenever I’d heard people gossip about Rachel. I heard the awfulest things. The top leadership said something, too, that I wasn’t supposed to hear, but I did and I was shocked.

The top leadership said that “people like Rachel” should not be given responsibility or have a voice in the organization. The top leadership said, “We need to be careful whom we assign these tasks to.” He said this in a lowered voice.

Why does this always happen to folks with a “diagnosis”? Shoved aside, given token recognition, neglected. We mental folk are forced live on the fringe of society.

I was thrilled, back in 2011, that Rachel reached out to me. She called herself my friend. She told me many things that she knew. She wanted me to meet folks in the so-called “recovery movement.” She often spoke of her “recovery,” but honestly, she seemed outwardly kinda sickly to me. Why speak of recovery? I hate that word because it means something different to each person. I feel that no one has a right to say that another is or is not “recovered.” Nor does any person, method, or organization have the ownership and monopoly on “recovery” as they so promise. So I don’t even use that word.

Rachel truly influenced me. I wanted to learn more, even though I flinched whenever she said, “recovery.” I looked into the principles behind the movement she had joined that she claimed helped her “recover.” I decided that I disagreed with the Recovery Movement’s principles. I decided I needed to find my own path.

Communication with Rachel was often difficult. I still had a landline and I knew she had one, too. Still, I couldn’t understand her over the phone. I’d pick up one out of every five words. In person, too, it was tough because her voice was slurred and slowed down. I wondered if she was doped up on something, because when my voice was slurred in the past, the drugs were the cause.

She voluntarily told me she took some cancer drug, and a bunch of psych meds too. I asked myself if perhaps this was contradictory. If this Recovery Movement was about getting away from conventional mental health care, what was she doing on these drugs? One was Haldol, and I think she took other downers, too, such as Klonopin. I wonder if she was even trying to get off of them. I’ll never know. As for the cancer pill, naturally, it was for cancer, and I don’t know anything about that except that her hair had all fallen out.

One day, I went to Rachel’s home. She had a very nice and pleasant place in Watertown she’d acquired with her Section 8 voucher. She even hired people to clean the place periodically. I have no clue where that money came from. The building was so different from mine. She had privacy and quiet. She told me she felt I needed to get out of my present living situation. That was good advice. But Section 8 vouchers involve getting on a ten year waiting list. I was ten years older than Rachel. In ten years, I’d be a senior citizen. I often felt it wasn’t worth it, that I would die well before then.

We are neglected. And we die young. So it was with Rachel. I heard through my e-mail that she died May 23, 2014. I have no clue what she physically died of. I know she died of neglect.

Yes, neglect. When no one cares, that’s neglect. When people routinely avoid you or make excuses or lie so they don’t have to see you, be with you, touch you, look at you, or speak to you, that’s neglect. Or if what they give you is out of pity and not real caring, that’s neglect. Or if it’s token, just to look nice to everyone else.

I heard Rachel say publicly once that she was cancer-free. Then I heard someone say the cancer had been all in her head all along. I told myself to take all this with a grain of salt. What doctor would give cancer drugs if there wasn’t clear scientific evidence of cancer?

When I went to her house that day, she had her wig off. She said to me, “I don’t go around publicly without hair. Baldness reeks of cancer, that’s why.” She meant that people would look at her bald head and know.

Rachel was highly influential on me, at first. But it was hard being friends with her after a while. We kept getting into arguments. Much of it was because of the slur in her voice. I’d mishear something and respond inappropriately, or sound insensitive. I told myself we should speak in person, maybe this would make communication easier.

It was back in March, the end of the month, that we ran into each other in person and she said something that insulted me terribly. She made a rude comment about my weight.

I should have gone to her, approached her and told her what I thought of her snide remark. Instead, I told myself that I would from then on avoid her to avoid controversy. I was really pissed. I handled it all wrong. My eating was seriously affected. I wish I had gone to her directly and asked her to apologize and not say those things again. I believe she must have caught wind of how I felt, but I’ll never know. We never spoke after that except I did compliment her a few times. What I said was heartfelt, too. She was an intelligent person with great insight.

When I left the organization, I wanted to contact Rachel, to tell her why I left. There are times though that you really have to keep stuff to yourself. I told myself that she was still a member of this organization, and we’d met there. I asked myself if maybe I shouldn’t burst her bubble. I asked myself over and over what to do. After the hate crime, I was scared to contact anyone who was a member. No one contacted me. It was hard, every day, running into folks from the organization. I knew it wasn’t true that every single member was hateful. I was sad about the lost friendships, including losing Rachel. I told myself maybe I should hold off and wait before making any contact with members.

I made a rather positive choice for myself, eventually. I made a huge change. I followed through, and have made drastic improvements in my life. Rachel, sadly, made a different choice. But I don’t know, right now, what that choice really was, if she even had a choice at all, or what it was that destroyed her.

I am writing this to increase awareness, to express myself, and in hopes that by speaking out, I can prevent more people from dying.

God bless you Rachel, and thanks for being my friend.

My wonderful adventure at a supermarket in my new town

The name of the supermarket it Tienda Inglesa. It’s the biggest one in town. My friend says that’s the store that has everything, but it’s rather overpriced, so don’t go there unless you have to.

I have learned something, though, since coming here. To not rely on only one person for advice, because there are many viewpoints.

I have to keep in mind the source and where that person is coming from. Of course, I don’t take advice from anyone who is mean or abusive to me. I won’t take advice from those that don’t fully respect me and value me as a human being, like those doctors I left behind. And many ex-friends who really didn’t respect me. I know better now.

It took a long time to recognize liars. It took a long time to recognize users. It took a long time, believe it or not, to recognize disrespect. People who are in abusive situations have a hard time seeing the forest through the trees…or shall I say the trees…for what they are.

My new friends are very kind. So far, the only real asshole I’ve met was the guy I had to sit next to on the plane from Miami to Montevideo. Eight hours of that dude. But I kept telling myself I’d never have to see him again. I kept what I felt to myself and pretended to be asleep.

There are those I have met who do not speak English and are very kind and tolerant. There are many who speak a little English and try their best to understand and communicate. And there are those who speak the language fluently, the so-called “expats” I know who are very kind and helpful. I choose already to use the word “immigrant” instead, when referring to myself. I made that switch. I think “expat” reflects the American superiority complex.

So I decided to try out the Tienda Inglesa, but be aware of my friend’s warning that the place is expensive.

I walked in. I noted the bright colors, a little different from the smaller markets that are mom-and-pop farm stands and the like. The smaller markets, some of them, keep their doors wide open so the public can come in as they wish, and are dark inside to save electricity. Employees get to know the customers and work very hard. The market obtains local produce and other products, whatever it specializes in.

A panederia is a bakery. There’s another type of store that has the word “provisions” in it but I forget the exact way it is spelled. The local gas station sells provisions as well. It’s on the north side of the Interbanearia, and there’s a brightly lit sign outside that says the name of the station. I cannot recall it now. A Intermobilaria (I think that’s the word) is a real estate place. It begins with “inter,” anyway. Heck, I thought that mean police station! I learned, though, from an English-speaker. If it says Pepsi outside of the store it most likely sells food. A place that sells liquor is called “licoraria” or something like that. A Farmacia sells pharmaceuticals, and then there’s a drugararia (oh, heck, someething like that) and we don’t have one here in Atlantida. These are like CVS stores, that sell shampoo, toothpaste, and deodorant.

My friend says you can get alcohol at the drugstores. I told her there’s a “licor” store on the Interbal, and I pointed toward it. She said, “No, not that kind of alcohol. They don’t use isopropal alcohol here. It’s ethyl. Good for cleaning, and much safer than Isopropal. Ethyl is the booze kind, but isn’t booze. To me, it smells like gin, kinda minty and pleasant, but I sure hate the taste of gin.

I live near two bridges. One is a footbridge over the Interbal, and the other is a car bridge over the Interbal a bit further down in the direction of Montevideo, that is, west. You can walk on the car bridge if you want to. Esta means east and if you go east from the car bridge, you will pass my street and then pass a bunch of little stores till you reach the footbridge. I use the two bridges as reference points when I walk around. And of course, the main reference is the all-present Interbalnearia, which divides our town. You are North of the IB or South of it. Downtown is south, so property values on this side tend to be higher. Why? Most folks are pedestrians, and don’t want to cross the darned highway or let their kids try to cross it to get to downtown. West of the car bridge, not too much, is the Tienda Inglesa. It looks like a mini-mall. It’s on the south side conveniently off the IB.

So I walked down a bit of the IB till I reached the Tienda Inglesa. As you saw in my photo that I’ve shared previously, the IB has little roads running alongside it for local traffic and pedestrians. Traffic is slower on the side-road than the IB, of course. Buses also use both the IB and the little side-road. There’s a word for the side-road as well, which you can read on a map.

So I had Puzzle with me. It was late, but I knew the Tienda Inglesa was open till 9:30pm. I think it was around 7 or 7:30 when I left the house. It was dark, but already I have enough confidence not to get lost, even if it’s dark.

The side-road disappears for a bit and Puzzle and I actually had to walk right on the highway, but it’s not scary like the Mass Pike. Pedestrians are fine and not considered criminals just for walking there (cuz we have to sometimes) but you do so at your own risk. For that reason, many folks on foot or bike wear reflective gear or carry flashlights so they will be seen. I have a reflective thingy on Puzzle and I sometimes wear my reflective vest or other stuff I brought over that I purchased many years ago in a cycling store.

I guess it takes ten minutes from here at my home to the Tienda Inglesa, and maybe ten minutes or a bit more to town, where there’s a smaller supermarket called Disco. I’ve been to Disco a number of times. I’ve been told that the street that Disco is on is the main drag in town, named after someone famous. Every town has a street named that and that’s the Uroguayo equivalent of “Main Street.”

The Tienda Inglesa, being mall-like, is further out and not right in the center of town. Actually, if you turn your head and blink a few times, the Centro of town will pass right by you and you’ll be elsewhere. It’s teensy on the off-season and multiplies in population seven-fold during tourist season.

I tied Puzzle outside the Tienda Inglesa and walked in. Unlike Disco, you aren’t required to lock up your knapsack in a self-serve locker upon entering. My friend pointed out that it’s hard to steal with a knapsack cuz it’s on your back, and far easier if you have a big pocketbook, yet women aren’t required to lock up pocketbooks. This is one of the few things here that simply isn’t logical, but that’s the breaks, eh? This country is far more logical than the US. You learn that right away.

Bright colors inside. Many goods. I saw a sign but had very little clue as to what it meant. It said that one thing was downstairs and anther in the main part of the supermarket. I wondered if the downstairs was a bargain basement….from looking at the sign I thought it said the Spanish word for “discount” but I wasn’t sure. I took the escalator down.

I was surprised. The escalator didn’t have stairs. It was a downhill ramp so that folks can put their shopping carts or baby carriages right on it. I’ll bet a wheelchair could go on it, too, if the wheelchair user knew the tricks of riding it.

So the downstairs had lots of housewares in it, mostly, and furniture, too. I looked at a set of bellows and a bunch of clocks. I forgot to memorize how to say, “how much does this cost?” in Spanish, so when I noted that the bellows weren’t marked with a price, I decided to ask. Or try to. I brought the bellows near the register and got the attention of an employee. I pointed to the place where the price just might have been but wasn’t. I gestured, using the “I don’t know” shrug and pointed to the spot on the box next to the bar code. The employee said in Spanish, “Wait, I’ll see,” but I have no clue what the words were. I only knew she was saying that by her body language. I waited. Another employee left and then came back. She told me the price. I said, “Yo no habla espanol.” This means I don’t speak Spanish. Espanol isn’t capitalized in Spanish like Spanish or English is in English…if that makes any sense.

The woman looked at me, smiled and nodded. I tried to guess what the number was that she was quoting to me. I wrote the number with my fingers in the air. No, she said. She spoke the price, as best as she could, in English, smiling at me. I said, “Gracias!” I thought the price was a little high. I put the bellows back and smiled and waved, saying, “Mucho gracias, Adios!” and I went back up the funny escalator.

Inside the main supermarket, it looked like a food store plus a goods store, sorta like a mini-Walmart or Target store, but mostly food I’d say. I made a bunch of purchases, stuff I need. I compared prices as I usually do. I’m trying to learn to think in Pesos instead of translating back and forth to dollars. Guess what? After only two weeks, I am indeed starting to “think in Pesos” quite fine.

I must have gotten sidetracked. I knew the store was past closing time, but I also knew that the store employees are tolerant of us slow folks. But I must have been daydreaming, eh? Suddenly, I was surrounded by store employees, looking at me quizzically. Uh oh.

In the US, being surrounded by store employees like that means you are a criminal. You can expect police to show up, search you, accuse you, and maybe put you in jail whether you have done anything wrong or not. However, the store employees were simply wondering why on earth I was standing there so confused-looking. They told me the store was closed and if I didn’t mind, to please check out what I was buying at the register so they could close the store.

So I did. I found the one register where someone would take me, the clumsy late person. I had all my things rung up, but the store employee said I had to wait for something. I thought she was referring to a store card you get to get a discount (like those red CVS cards or store cards in the US that track purchases) but that wasn’t what she was saying. I asked about “carta” and made a gesture outlining a card, and then she assumed I was asking something about paying by credit card. They summoned anther employee, a young man around 19 who knew a little English. He was so cute, a teenage worker, probably his first job, and now, he was a shining star, the one employee whose knowledge of English was suddenly useful!

The kid turned beet red and stammered. Oh, I knew. You study and study the darned words but when it comes to using them, you are all tongue-tied. He blushed. He turned his head, embarrassed. I touched him and said that’s fine, you speak English very well and you are doing a good job. I said this in half-Spanish, half English. He smiled and laughed. I told him I was studying Spanish but that I’d only been there ten days.

Everyone seemed so welcoming. They asked if I had a little…I said, “Oh yes, little…” and I gestured the size of Puzzle and said, “Woof! Woof!” Yes, I said, she is my dog named Puzzle. They were trying to tell me something about Puzzle and I got scared that maybe she wasn’t okay. But I waited.

Another employee came with a box. Know what I did? I took the demo off the shelf and wasn’t supposed to. So this was the boxed version. Oh, I said, I see. The price of the item was added to the total. “Oh, I see,” I said in Spanish, less enthusiastic cuz I had to pay more.

I handed the lady my credit card. She took it, then asked me to sign a paper. I did. Under my signature I put the date, but that’s not what I was supposed to put. A word there in Spanish actually wasn’t the word for “today’s date” but something else and I had no clue.

The cashier asked for ID. I said I had left my passport at home. She asked me if I could write the number down and I told her I didn’t have it memorized. She smiled and laughed. She processed my sale and said, “You’re fine,” in Spanish and let me go, laughing.

An innocent little lady with a cute dog sure isn’t a criminal. In the US, the employees would have been rude and dismissive. Here, they were warm, amused, and welcoming to the newcomer…me…now rather famous as Tienda Inglesa as the brave new lady in town who doesn’t know a darned thing. I say brave because they all understand that folks leave the US and come there for…REFUGE…and this is the life of an immigrant. It ain’t easy, but you survive somehow.

I left. I noted that Puzzle was still tied outside, but they had moved her and tied her to a different post. So I laughed. This is what they were trying to tell me. Puzzle was sure happy to see me. I put all my stuff into my knapsack, and headed home with Puzzle.

I laughed at my adventures. I promised myself I would write about how fun it was to be in such a situation, what an adventure, and how wonderful and welcoming this new place is that I now call home.

Fire Doctor

Fire Doctor

I build fires to stay warm. I need to have control over the fire so that I can stay warm and also so the fire won’t take over and burn the house down.

I insist on control. I want more power over my fire. To contain it. To put it to MY use. To sustain me. I need that fire to keep me warm, but I need to control it.

I am speaking the voice of the Fire Doctor. Doctors have so, so much power these days. I think I will put a degree on my wall (we hope it doesn’t get singed) and use my doctor-power to control my fire.

I begin by giving it a diagnosis: Dear Fire, you now have a diagnosis: You have anger issues! You need treatment for your anger issues.

So, Fire, let’s begin. Your diagnosis is your new identity and you must be more aware of your anger. I will provoke you, adding fuel to the fire let’s say, by agitating and poking you, provoking you into making larger flames.

Oooooh, see how angry you are! That PROVES you have anger problems and need even more intense treatment.

Now, I want you to think hard about your anger. To force you to obsess over it, I will ask you to rate your anger on a chart. Rate it 10 for the worst anger you have ever had, and zero for no anger at all. Now, by causing this obsession, you will live up to all the expectations of your arbitrarily-given diagnosis. You will be more angry than ever, burning like mad, which of course is rather useful to me, the doctor. It’s still a bit chilly in here and I sure could use the funds…er, heat, I meant to say.

You must rely on me for treatment. I have a doctor degree and know all about your problem. Don’t listen to your own instincts and never, ever pay attention to your needs. It’s all about MY needs now, my proclamations, prescriptions, and control, and you are the sick, weak, dependent one.

So now I see you are so, so pissed off that you are burning nicely. Bravo. Keep coming back to me, the holy doctor, and I will fix everything.

Now that you are burning, I will close the stove door, latching it so you are properly contained and can never get out. You are destroying yourself so deserve this imprisonment. Burn until I have no more use for you. Then, your ashes will be swept up. Ugh. Unwanted filth. Messy, eh? Just dust, though, unimportant, wiped out and if I have my way, forgotten. Especially if I goofed my fire and it went out prematurely. But then I have other fires to take control of.

Day 2: The next fire, instead of complying, refused to burn and the doctor was cold that day. Whom to blame, the controlling abuser, or the victim the abuser so desperately needs to manipulate? Let’s blame the victim and persecute it. Make it a societal reject, unwanted and unloved, and shove those ashes into a corner, into the trash, in fact, let’s call the ashes “Trash.” Let’s isolate them so they won’t spread their filth to our holy clean society. We hate victims. We hate suffering and negativity. Let’s ban it. Of course, never pay attention or listen to ashes, it’s all the past anyway and we focus on the “here and now” because it’s so trendy.

Day 3. The next fire got so pissed off that it burned down the doctor’s house. Bye bye doctor.

It’s time to end psychiatric abuse.

Fire Doctor (cross-posted)

I put this post up on another blog. But I like it so much that I want to share it here:

Fire Doctor

I build fires to stay warm. I need to have control over the fire so that I can stay warm and also so the fire won’t take over and burn the house down.

I insist on control. I want more power over my fire. To contain it. To put it to MY use. To sustain me. I need that fire to keep me warm, but I need to control it.

I am speaking the voice of the Fire Doctor. Doctors have so, so much power these days. I think I will put a degree on my wall (we hope it doesn’t get singed) and use my doctor-power to control my fire.

I begin by giving it a diagnosis: Dear Fire, you now have a diagnosis: You have anger issues! You need treatment for your anger issues.

So, Fire, let’s begin. Your diagnosis is your new identity and you must be more aware of your anger. I will provoke you, adding fuel to the fire let’s say, by agitating and poking you, provoking you into making larger flames.

Oooooh, see how angry you are! That PROVES you have anger problems and need even more intense treatment.

Now, I want you to think hard about your anger. To force you to obsess over it, I will ask you to rate your anger on a chart. Rate it 10 for the worst anger you have ever had, and zero for no anger at all. Now, by causing this obsession, you will live up to all the expectations of your arbitrarily-given diagnosis. You will be more angry than ever, burning like mad, which of course is rather useful to me, the doctor. It’s still a bit chilly in here and I sure could use the funds…er, heat, I meant to say.

You must rely on me for treatment. I have a doctor degree and know all about your problem. Don’t listen to your own instincts and never, ever pay attention to your needs. It’s all about MY needs now, my proclamations, prescriptions, and control, and you are the sick, weak, dependent one.

So now I see you are so, so pissed off that you are burning nicely. Bravo. Keep coming back to me, the holy doctor, and I will fix everything.

Now that you are burning, I will close the stove door, latching it so you are properly contained and can never get out. You are destroying yourself so deserve this imprisonment. Burn until I have no more use for you. Then, your ashes will be swept up. Ugh. Unwanted filth. Messy, eh? Just dust, though, unimportant, wiped out and if I have my way, forgotten. Especially if I goofed my fire and it went out prematurely. But then I have other fires to take control of.

Day 2: The next fire, instead of complying, refused to burn and the doctor was cold that day. Whom to blame, the controlling abuser, or the victim the abuser so desperately needs to manipulate? Let’s blame the victim and persecute it. Make it a societal reject, unwanted and unloved, and shove those ashes into a corner, into the trash, in fact, let’s call the ashes “Trash.” Let’s isolate them so they won’t spread their filth to our holy clean society. We hate victims. We hate suffering and negativity. Let’s ban it. Of course, never pay attention or listen to ashes, it’s all the past anyway and we focus on the “here and now” because it’s so trendy.

Day 3. The next fire got so pissed off that it burned down the doctor’s house. Bye bye doctor.

It’s time to end psychiatric abuse.

Finders keepers losers weepers part 2

One man’s trash, another’s treasure.

One man’s trash is another’s treasure. Near my home is a public trash bin. Twice today, I passed by and peeked inside.

This morning, twigs. Kindling. Necessity.

This afternoon, cardboard. Tossed aside. Unwanted. I wanted it so, so much. I brought home my treasure and later I will make fire in my stove. Puzzle and I will rejoice with our fire.

And so, it is with our people we toss aside. Tossed aside and unwanted by American society. Yet here, I am treasured. Finders keepers losers weepers, as they say.

Uruguay is approaching winter. I am welcome here. Found treasure from America’s Trash.

Tonight, fire. Warmth. Treasured, in my new home.

Do you HAVE anorexia or any ED? Read Greenblatt’s book, Answers to Anorexia. We need to see to it that Walden is run by his theories, NOT by mental health hocus-pocus

I have only now found Greenblatt’s book on Google and AGREE with what he is saying.  I am a person who has suffered from Anorexia and binge eating for over 3 decades and I know Greenblatt is, or was, SPOT ON!

But what the hell went wrong? Why is Walden a prison filled with uncaring, ignorant staff?  Some are clearly sadistic abusers as well.  Crap, Dr. Greenblatt, close the place down!

YOU HAVE THAT POWER, DR GREENBLATT.  Leave that place, start a new one.  People listen to doctors. They don’t listen to peons like me.  Doctors are just as powerful as the most powerful political leaders, and are given that power in much of the western world.  USE IT!

I am a writer and have the power of the pen.  I cherish this. Doctors have social prestige.  I don’t.  People assume I am NUTS or manic or whatever the diagnosis of the day is.  I’m not.  I suffer from starvation. That’s not a mental disorder. Greenblatt knows this, psychiatry denies nutrition.

Greenblatt, if you are reading this, can you contact me? Thanks, Julie Greene and Puzzle.  Send an e-mail or get in touch any way you can.  Love, Julie Greene and Puzzle, and I am NOT SHUTTING UP ABOUT THIS!

Greenblatt is right! Why the hell aren’t his own employees following his plan? Does he not know his “hospital,” Walden, is run like a prison, not following his theories?

Wow, I always thought Dr. Greenblatt was a jerk.  I suppose he is rather haughty and quite the snob, however, he is damned right!

Does anyone even bother reading his book, Answers to Anorexia?  His conclusions were the same as my own.  I have no clue what personal experience, if any, he has with the disorder.

I never even bothered reading his book.  Clearly his hospital has gone astray and isn’t even listening to him.  What the f?

It’s run like a mental hospital.  However, Greenblatt concluded the following:

Anorexia is NOT a mental illness. It is a nutritional problem and should be approached as such.

Dang.  The staff at his so-called treatment place poo-poo his vitamin regimen as trivial. Why? Are they not familiar with his theories?  Why lock up eating disorders patients and treat them as criminals? Greenblatt, close your “hospital,” please!  Walk out.  Start over, please, with all new staff who actually know something about ED and believe what you are saying, and are familiar with what your nutritional approach.

Not only that, why is Greenblatt’s hospital feeding patients junk food? Why not foods that are high in zinc and the other nutrients Greenblatt claims are lacking due to starvation?

More….

Here, I am FINALLY seen as the brilliant and creative person I always was

That’s right. I already have been employed to knit a dog sweater! I have the yarn and have begun. I have been asked to help fix people’s computers as well. The folks here haven’t been in the US for a while and have had no access to an English-speaking technician familiar with computers brought in from the US.

I am self-taught and can do many things. I am no longer “a waste of public funds” or “an imposition on society.” Watertown was full of bullshit to label me a criminal.

I know how to survive. Why? I had to. I had no freaking “help” in Watertown so I had to do everything myself. No family, hostile neighbors, inhumane living quarters. Whatever “help” was offered was bogus psychiatry or poor quality mental health. I rejected that abuse. I HAD to learn to help myself, completely alone and on my two feet.

Now, I’m here and thriving. Ten days away from living in fear. Ten days away from that godawful noise. Ten days of privacy. Dignity. At last.

Was it all worth it?

YES!

Love, Julie and Puzzle

Here are some photos of my wonderful new home!

Hola! How do I make an upside-down exclamation point with this keyboard?  I will surely learn!

Puzzle and I first flew on Tuesday the 13th of May from Boston Logan Airport to Miami International, first flight of the day.  Puzzle flew right with me in the cabin.  She slept soundly for the entire flight! I didn’t!  I was jealous!  But little did Puzzle know that she and I would never have to endure the nightmare of living in that horrible public housing building ever again.  We said goodbye to Watertown, and to Massachusetts.  I felt relieved already, and secretly told Watertown, “Good riddance, you jerks!  You never appreciated me or Puzzle, nor allowed me to be the person I am, to live to my potential.  I am going to a new place where I can be free to be me!”

Aw, c’mon, do you think I said “jerks” to myself or do you think I said an American swear word?  One guess allowed only!

We arrived in Miami right on time.  It took a long time to leave the airport and get organized enough to get all of my bags together and over to the hotel, where we spent a rather luxurious night.  If you are ever in Miami and need a wonderful, pet-friendly hotel, go to the La Quinta Miami NORTH Airport Inn.  I had peace and quiet all night and the next day, too. Oh my goodness, PRIVACY for the first time in so, so long.  Would you believe a busy hotel was far more quiet and peaceful than that public housing apartment in Watertown was, anytime day or night? I no longer heard that nightmarish babble of my next-door neighbor’s TV.  I will never hear it again!  Oh my goodness it felt great!  Here I am the next afternoon, still at the hotel, in the lobby. That’s where I wrote the entry called “lobby” in my other blog!

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That night at 11:30 sharp, our plane took off from Miami to Montevideo, UY, direct flight. We were in the air for eight hours, arriving ten minutes early in Montevideo, the capital city of Uruguay.  It was already mid-morning.

I have to tell you that if you fly from the US to most countries in South America, you CAN bring your dog, but your dog has to fly cargo. If your dog flies cargo, all airports must be within a certain temperature range on the runway otherwise no animals can fly in cargo, period.  So had I waited much longer, I would not have been able to leave Miami!  I would have had to wait till fall!  Even at 11:30 at night, it’s quite hot there now and I couldn’t have postponed this trip even a week!   Check regulations because they change the rules all the time!  Puzzle did just fine, needless to say,  and all the personnel loved her.

I waited for Puzzle right at the baggage claim.  I finally got all my bags but was still there, the last passenger, waiting for Puzzle to come through.  Finally, a friendly man came up to me speaking in Spanish and asked me if I was looking for a dog.  A chico blanco one!  Oh si, senior!  Mucho gracias!  My first chance to try out my rather limited Spanish I only just learned!  Everyone said Puzzle was so cute!  She was happy to see me.  I knew my little one had had no trouble at all. She didn’t require tranquilizers…of course not.  What did she dream about?  I know!  A big bowl of chicken liver!

My friend came soon to pick us up.  She told me later that the laid-back Uraguayo  airport dudes asked her in Spanish, “Hey, is your friend staying here for good?”

My friend shrugged casually and replied in espanol, “Probably.”

The dudes laughed and wished me the best.

I felt such deep joy right then.  I was thrilled about this new home already.  We exited the building.  I stepped onto our  soil, that I immediately loved, for the first time.  The sun was brightly shining on wet grass.  The rain had been falling on and off that morning.

We stopped at my friend’s home for lunch.  Here’s part of her yard:

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Then, I saw my new home for the first time:

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My door is the one on the right.  Next to me is vacant.  We secure our doors with swinging gates that are right over the door, and if we so choose, we can padlock the gate.

Here are some views of the interior.

My kitchen counter, before and after I organized it:

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Do you see the two toilets in my bathroom?

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No, not for pooping alongside your partner.  The one closer to the shower is to wash your bum!  I use it for a stool and I pile towels on it for showering.

Here’s one of my three ceiling fans…

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Gizzards for Puzzle…

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Red shirts I am washing in a red bucket…

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Laundry, hanging in the sun:

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Adios!

Why I have become an expat

I suppose that’s what I am now. An “expat.” “Expat” is a newfangled word for those who leave their country to live in another. In my case, I left the US to live in Uruguay.

Why do people leave the US? Each expat has their own reason for doing so. It’s none of my business unless the person volunteers or if we get to know each other well. I say this because it’s a rather deep and personal topic. Sometimes, finances are involved and in my culture it’s not all that polite to get nosy about money. I’ve learned also to keep my own reasons to myself likewise. There are some that I simply should never tell. I learned that one fast.

Not everyone has the same viewpoint. Right away when I got here, that very evening, I met other expats who find what’s happening in the US disturbing and frightening and left for that reason. I discovered that we were like-minded, so I shared more freely. I have also met folks that were not at all disillusioned with their previous homes but came for another reason. I didn’t pry and from now on with these folks I will be careful to reveal less. \\

With some folks, I don’t want to reveal that I ever saw a shrink back in the US. Others hate what’s happening in psychiatry as much as I do! With the latter, I am more likely to share my sentiment and even experiences.

From what I can gather, many come here because they assume it’s gonna be cheaper and therefore a decent place to retire. THINK TWICE. DO YOUR RESEARCH. I didn’t come for that reason at all and I think some that do may later have regrets. This is the reason: You may or may not find the climate agreeable, including the very high humidity. You may be accustomed to many luxuries and high-tech stuff and seriously miss it all.

The major thing to consider is that if you don’t know Spanish, you will need to learn it. I have met expats who have been here for years and still don’t know the language, probably because they aren’t mingling, only hanging out in the tiny community of English-speakers. It’s highly to your advantage to LEARN and work at it regularly until you have basic proficiency. This is especially true if you are going to locate to a sparsely populated area. In larger cities I’ll bet you can get away with knowing less Spanish. It takes EFFORT to learn.

I happened to know all of the above before my arrival. So, you may ask, since it’s so inconvenient here, why come?

Consider this: Years ago, many immigrants to the US, such as Jews or Catholics from certain parts of the world came due to persecution or fears about Hitler and what he might do. You may not realize that some folks are persecuted right in the US. I am shocked that so many people are unaware of American persecution, and assume everything is wonderful, fair, and just there. That’s rather ethnocentric thinking if you ask me.

Of course persecution exists in the US. Children have a tough go of it because in many subcultures, children are deprived of basic human dignity and respect. Old folks, too, are persecuted in some subcultures. Older folks are often subject to ageism. If you appear old people assume you are deaf or demented and don’t bother asking. Too many assumptions are made and the result can be disastrous.

If you think our laws make the US free of discrimination against anyone with dark skin, know right now that this is NOT TRUE. Some areas are worse than others, but this discrimination runs rampant. Even though it’s not legal it’s regularly done. I have known many dark-skinned people who have relocated due to discrimination, or chosen very carefully where to live and find work or education.

My parents were similarly cautious when they came from New Jersey to Massachusetts. They were both 100% Ashkinazi Jew. I believe this was the year I was born, 1958. When they relocated from one town to another, they knew they’d again have to be cautious where to settle.

People with mental disorders are regularly discriminated against. The worst discriminators are those that professionally treat these difficulties, believe it or not. A lot also depends on “diagnosis,” which is for the most part arbitrary and changeable, especially with the passage of time. You may have the diagnosis “depression” for ten years and then suddenly you switch doctors who will then give you their own pet diagnosis. Or, after a decade or two, you end up with a different Diagnosis of the Day. A doctor who treats, for instance, “somatoform disorder” will see it in every patient that approaches them. A doctor who has done research, for instance, in “poor sleep hygeine” will assume that any patient who comes to him complaining of insomnia has bad habits and may not look into further causes.

Patients who are medication-seeking, say, for painkillers, seek out doctors who readily assume the patient is in great pain. Of course, dentists are a easy source of painkillers because most dentists assume your teeth hurt like hell even if they don’t. Pain can’t be measured by scientific testing that I know of. Same with something like “depression” or “anxiety.” Nowadays it’s very easy to fake anxiety (on purpose or inadvertently) and walk away with a prescription.

I myself left due to persecution. I HAD a mental diagnosis, or should I say, several, and couldn’t get away from these except to relocate and establish myself elsewhere. I had the option of moving to various ststes in the US but every attempt I made either fell through, didn’t pan out, was too expensive or impractical or otherwise turned out to be a yucky arrangement. It seems to me still that anyone with a psych history has an awfully hard time with discrimination wherever they go in the US. If the psych history is visible it’s even tougher. For instance, if you have Tardive Dyskinesia you will have a frightful time trying to get a job or housing, or find companionship, never mind the practical difficulties that this terrible movement disorder causes. TD is caused mainly by antipsychotic medication. I am lucky that I don’t have TD!

What I knew would happen has happened. I now live in a wonderful apartment, far nicer than I had in that inhumane place where I used to live. I have privacy and this is a place of dignity as well. There are no gossipy neighbors sitting by the door all day discussing who walks past them leaving or entering the building. I am not packed in here like a sardine. I CONTROL the heat. It’s cold out and I can choose to make a fire or not. No one “monitors” what the temp is in here or tells me I don’t deserve to have my home at any temp I’d like. I’m amazed! It’s about 60 in here right now. When I choose to do so, I’ll make a fire. Right now I’m holding off.

It’s true that almost everyone doesn’t have a dishwasher or washing machine. Dryers are almost nonexistent here. We hang our clothes in the sun or by the fire. Considering the very high humidity, it takes forever for anything to dry. Anyone coming here, in my opinion, if they love “instant” anything won’t adapt well. Certain commodities you just can’t get or are surprisingly costly. Other things are dirt cheap or free that may cost a fortune in the US. Clothes and food are easy to come by, for instance. Cookware such as pots and pans appears expensive unless you know where to shop for it. My friend says everything you buy here breaks down because, she says, “They get cheap stuff from China.”

I don’t miss “convenience” at all. I didn’t even have “convenience” anyway in the US cuz I lived in poverty. I had no medical care or the care was abusive or forced, so it wasn’t care but imprisonment. I hear the medical care here is excellent and anyone can access it if absolutely needed. I find the inconveniences here rather minor compared to what I was up against as person with known and assumed “mental disorder” with no “resources” or “family support.” Not only that, but the world in the US was designed for car drivers and not folks on foot. Here, the opposite it true! Many places are easy to get to on foot or bus and difficult or inconvenient to try to drive to.

The world is based on logic here. There’s no pervasive religiosity or superstition. If you are cold, put on a jacket or go to warm place or drink something hot or build a fire. I doubt taking a pill will be a good long-term solution to feeling cold or hungry, or being out of work. It’s shocking how easily a person out of work in the US will end up being given pills to solve their unemployment or poverty. Not logical but that’s what’s done nowadays.

Is the saying on the Statue of Liberty now a lie? Think about it.

Enough said.